Case Study 1: Domain Name Control

Is your brand secure?

We were approached but a local company who’s website had gone down and the previous developers weren’t responding to any messages. This isn’t a common scenario but there are a number of reasons it can happen:

  1. The developer has become incapacitated
  2. The developer has changed jobs
  3. The developer has moved
  4. The organisation has been shut down / liquidated

We don’t know why it happened but our primary objective was to see how we could get the site back up and running.

Our first step was to investigate the Dns settings as this tells us where the site should be but immediately we discovered that the domain had expired, put simply it hadn’t been renewed and had past the grace period. Our client didn’t have access to the domain registrar, wasn’t in control of renewal and therefore hadn’t received any notifications about domain expiry and the need to renew, that, presumably, was sent to the previous developer.

Without any ability to renew the domain we were left with 2 courses of action:

  1. Try and make contact with the current developer and ask for access
  2. Sit out the remaining grace period until the domain is released to the public register and then purchase, before someone else does.

We tried emailing, calling, facebook messages and contacting period that were mutual contacts, to the previous developer, but all to no avail. They didn’t want to be contacted and didn’t want to help but it meant our client having the choice of rebranding the company to a new name or sitting out the 90 period before the domain could be purchased again.

In this case it meant no website, but it could have meant no emails too, if they used the domain for email accounts.

We also didn’t have access to any of the website files so in the interim period we used search engine caches and previous briefs and screenshots to rebuild the site as close to how it was before, waiting until we could retrieve control of the domain. The threat, now, was that others may have noticed the domain had expired and were also waiting to purchase, either to then try and sell the domain back to my client, at an inflated price, or to use the good name of my client to build their own company reputation up.

It was a stressful couple of months and thankfully the day it was released we were ready to purchase and secure the companies brand for the future.

In this case we had a happy ending but it wasn’t without stress, time or money that could have been avoided with control of the domain.

To understand more about controlling your domain check out our article called Do you control your domain?

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